M-Retailing

Boots rolls out mobile digital assistant into its 2,500 stores

Boots [IRDX RBOO] has harnessed the power of digital to enable sales staff to find and inform customers about products, wherever they are held, using a new in-store mobile sales assistant.

The Sales Assist app, produced by IBM MobileFirst on iOS, enables staff to answer customer questions about the range, from reviews and ratings through to location, and make recommendations powered by analytics that tap into the product databases on boots.com. If a product is not in stock in store, the member of staff can use the app to find where the item is held, whether that’s in another nearby store, or order it to collect as soon as the next day.

The app, developed in partnership with IBM MobileFirst and Apple, is now running on 3,700 in-store iPads across Boots’ 2,510 strong store estate. The health and beauty retailer is an Elite trader in IRUK Top500 research.

“At Boots UK we’re investing in innovative new technology to further improve the retail experience for our customers, and mobility is at the forefront of this transformation,” said Robin Phillips, director of omnichannel and development at Boots UK.

He added: “The unique tool allows our colleagues to quickly show product information, ratings and reviews, look up inventory online and make recommendations based on online analytics, all from the shop floor. It will help even our smallest stores feel like a flagship shop, with access to the entire Boots range at their fingertips.”

Boots customer assistant Vickie Ward was one of the team invited to held design and develop the app based on her in-store experience. She said: “We worked hard to design the Sales Assist app around the needs of Boots colleagues,
and using it gives us the confidence to provide our customers with the most up-to-date advice on products and offers on the spot. It helps us to give customers an even better and more personal experience, so that no one goes home disappointed.”

Mahmoud Naghshineh, general manager, Apple partnership, IBM [IRDX VIBM], said: “By empowering its colleagues with up-to-date data and product information delivered to the Apple device, Boots UK is leading amongst retailers by creating an enriched shopping experience that helps personalize customer engagement and enables faster service.”

Boots is using IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform, to link Sales Assist with the company’s applications and data, in a high-performance, scalable and flexible hybrid cloud environment. Boots.com runs on IBM WebSphere Commerce with integration services from IBM Global Business Services.

The July issue of InternetRetailing’s print magazine contains an in-depth interview with Robin Phillips, director of omnichannel and development, Boots UK, in which he speaks about the company’s omnichannel transformation and the latest developments for customers and staff.

Mentioned in this piece…

Boots

Boots

IRDX: RBOO

Boots is a pharmacy chain and multichannel retailer with outlets on most high streets throughout the UK and Ireland. (more…)

IBM UK Ltd

IBM UK Ltd

IRDX: VIBM

IBM works with organisations to make more profitable, timely, and measurable business outcomes through improved marketing. (more…)

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